Barcelona has been charged with corruption after an allegation of €7.3 Million between 2001 and 2018 to firms owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, an ex-vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee.
Jose held the role at the Spanish football association between 1993 and 2018.
A senior Barcelona official told Reuters the club expected the complaint but said it was “nothing more than a preliminary investigative hypothesis” from the prosecutors and that “now is when the judicial investigation properly begins.”
The official added that “the club will fully cooperate with the investigation in all means necessary” and “reiterates that they have never bought any referee nor have tried to influence any official’s decisions.”
The club denied wrongdoing in a statement last month, saying they had simply paid an external consultant that supplied them with “technical reports related to professional refereeing”, calling it “a common practice among professional football clubs”.
It accuses the club, Rosell, Bartomeu, Negreira, and two other former Barcelona officials of corruption in sports, unfair administration, and falsehood in mercantile documents.
The investigation was triggered by a tax inspection. Negreira told the Spanish tax agency that Barcelona’s goal with the payments was to have “neutral” referees in their games, according to El Pais newspaper.